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Welcome to the life and chronicles of My Jersey Boys and me, B (the only girl who hangs out with them). Our original mission was to prove that not all of Jersey is obsessed with GTL. Now it's kind of become the place where we share our random thoughts, ridiculous stories, regular quote updates, and maybe a picture or video here and there. There's always something going on...

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Don't Go to College

Posted by D on 1:20 PM

*I had a thought in class. I was too lazy to raise my hand, so I decided to write about it. Imagine me raising my hand right now.*

In one of my classes this week, we were discussing racial socialization in the context of sports. Although I normally space out during class and surf the internet (B actually texted me about the blog during class), I started paying attention when I heard the phrase “affirmative action.” To add some background, my class consists mostly of varsity athletes (obviously, I am an exception) of which many are black. Conversations about race consistently teeter between the black and white students in the class, with any racial sensitive issues stopping just short of outright conflict (I give credit to the teacher for managing to keep us from fighting). Today’s conversation finished with anecdotes about how parents deal with issues of race when raising their kids (A black student commented that white families do not introduce “whiteness” to their kids, while black families regularly address “blackness” with their kids. I responded that while this seems true, white families do not ignore identity. Rather, white families may introduce heritage or religion in place of race). The logical next step was the typical discussion about how cultural attitudes towards race impact the availability of resources and the opportunities of minorities to take advantage of those resources. The resource under consideration was education (it was a college class after all).

Like anything else, education is a resource. Resources can be undervalued, overvalued, or valued jusssssst right. Entrepreneurs make money by taking advantage of resources that are being undervalued. For example, the tech boom in the late 90s was the result of brilliant people taking advantage of the underutilization of internet. Unfortunately, as more people attempt to jump on the pile (and the resource becomes valued appropriately), profitability declines. Education is not immune to these market forces. In the last 200 years, education has gone from an entitlement of the elite (only the very elite had access) to a privilege that all Americans should be entitled to. What used to be extremely undervalued (in the sense that it was completely inaccessible to most people) has become at minimum valued appropriately and possibly far overvalued. As more and more people have access to education, its value decreases. While high school used to be the minimum expected education for most professional jobs, undergraduate education has taken its place. The uniqueness of undergraduate education has moved to graduate education.

The short story is that too many people are going to college. Although this is an extremely simplified characterization, its underlying truth is apparent. There are not enough jobs in this country to support the yearly college graduates. Not everybody is meant to go to college. I don’t mean to say that any specific group should not go to college. What I am saying is that we are pushing people to go to college for whom it is not in their best interest to do so. A flourishing economy requires jobs to be performed that do not require a college education. The types of jobs that illegal immigrants are admonished for taking are the types of jobs that Americans performed before the recent emphasis on receiving a college education. The college push has made graduates overqualified for most manufacturing and basic service sector jobs. Structurally, there are not enough service sector jobs for all of our college graduates. Therefore, the overemphasis on going to college has had 2 primary effects: devaluing undergraduate degrees (the supply of graduates is too large) and pushing basic jobs to cheaper labor (college graduates demand high salaries).

None of what I have written is new or particularly brilliant. However, I believe the overemphasis of education is related to racial attitudes in this country. Similar to how the Earth responds to overpopulation and over consumption of resources by having droughts and natural disasters, perhaps society has responded to the oversaturation of education by fighting back against programs such as affirmative action. Perhaps the natural mechanism for adjusting to changes in the value of resources is working against African Americans. The current education climate will not allow AA’s to easily level the playing field. There are just too many people going to college. Before African Americans can achieve level footing, white people need to stop going to college- Not all of them mind you, just some.

I don’t know why I wrote this.




Hey D,
I'm really glad you wrote this actually, because I agree with you completely. For example, I don't really understand why I have to go to college and then grad school for journalism. You become a better writer by working within the field, and actually writing. I feel like most jobs you need to have experience within the field, rather than going to college and having to learn skills that you will most likely never use. That's just my opinion though... Plus, I hate school so *laughs* my opinion is a bit biased.

Peace & cigarettes,

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